ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends

This Week in Breakfast: Stella’s in Hartland, VT


A tiny potion bottle full of real maple syrup. Tiny flower pots full of creamers. Handmade boxes holding equal exchange tea.

I saw a bumper sticker recently: “Vermont. I get it.” At Stella’s for breakfast this morning, I kept thinking, “Vermont. I get it.” Maple syrup. Beautiful foliage. Hills split by green pastures and picturesque farms. Organic sustainable shade-grown coffee. Local blueberries in the pancakes. From what I’ve seen, there’s a different character just over the Connecticut River. For example, Vermont Public Radio and New Hampshire Public Radio were both holding fall pledge drives. VPR met their fundraising goals two days early while NHPR fell short of their fundraising goal.

More compare-and-contrast later. But first – breakfast!

Stella’s is in Hartland, Vermont, which is about 20 miles south of Hartford, Vermont. No wonder we got confused and drove 25 minutes south to breakfast. I thought it was well worth the drive. Stella’s shares a building with the Hartland post office, and a “gen’ral” store. Next door, the local church was preparing for their annual Turkey Dinner: $5 or $10. Preschoolers for free.

Stella’s is tiny – it barely seats 27 diners at 6 tables and 5 counter spots. We got there at just the right time, walked right in and sat at the counter. I couldn’t take too many pictures because we were right in front of the kitchen and I was honestly worried about offending the chef who kept a very close eye on the dining room. I did have to catch a quick snapshot of the little potion bottles full of maple syrup.

I ordered blueberry pancakes, scrambled egg and a sausage patty. The blueberries were local, as were the eggs. I didn’t catch the whole description on the menu, but their eggs are local, pasture-raised, and I think there was something in there about tuition remission and paid volunteer time off. The waitresses wrote down orders and took them to the kitchen with, “Order, Please.” Vermont. I get it.

The pancakes were fan-stupid-tastic. The berries were tiny and sweet. The pancakes themselves had just a little tug but still sucked up the maple syrup. I was so happy to gobble down my pancakes, I don’t think I even took a moment to ask Sam how his breakfast was. What even did he order? Was it good? I hope he replies in the comments to fill in my missing details. Like everywhere else, the bill was $26, including tip.

Previous Breakfasts:


5 thoughts on “This Week in Breakfast: Stella’s in Hartland, VT

  1. The aforementioned “Sam” will chime in with…

    When we go to breakfast I invariably look for the fewest choices, like many of you I have serious meal indecision made worse when I’m hungry or tired. You see the problem with going out for breakfast. So, it is always helpful when we go out to eat for Sunday breakfast at a place with a specials board.

    Thankfully Stella’s had one. The special was a scrambler (scrambled eggs with additions) that consisted of breakfast sausage, roasted green chiles, onions and pepper jack cheese on top. I had to choose what type of potatoe and what type of toast. But, after that trivial decision it was all good.

    I thought the eggs were properly cooked, the hashed browns were crispy if a bit oily. It was nice to have good tea, some breakfast places really skimp on that.

    My one gripe is that a drive that far is too far for breakfast.

    • I agree that the drive to Stella’s was the farthest we’ve driven for breakfast so far, but I’m also used to driving 20 minutes from Rick and Smo’s house to the Sand Burr in Broadhead, so I’m willing to wait for a good breakfast.

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